The NBA has postponed three games from Wednesday’s schedule due to COVID-19 concerns: Orlando Magic at Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz at Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks at Phoenix Suns. The contest between the Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns is the latest to be postponed, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Suns won’t have enough players due to contract tracing after they played the Washington Wizards on Monday and Washington has a pair of players now in the league’s health and safety protocols. In addition to the Suns and Hawks, the games between the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic, and the Utah Jazz and Wizards have also been postponed.
The Celtics still do not have enough players available to play in a basketball game, which has led to the league postponing its game again. This is the third consecutive game for the Celtics that has been postponed, and the second one due to them not having enough players. Boston currently has nine players who are listed as out, seven of which are due to the league’s health and safety protocols. Those seven players are: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Tristan Thompson, Semi Ojeleye, Grant Williams, Robert Williams and Javonte Green.
The Jazz vs. Wizards games was postponed because Washington is dealing with a combination typical wear-and-tear injuries and COVID-19-related absences. Russell Westbrook is out with a quad injury, Thomas Bryant tore his ACL last week, and Rui Hachimura and Mo Wagner are both out due to the league’s health and safety protocols. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Wizards have two more players out due to contact tracing.
The league is currently addressing its COVID-19 protocols, as several teams across the league are dealing with outbreaks, leading to six postponed games in the past week. The NBA has no intention of pausing the season, but the league has already implemented stricter guidelines and safety measures during games and practices.
These new guidelines include stricter mask-wearing rules, limiting interaction between players at arenas, and they also limit what players can do when they’re away from their team, at home or on the road. These guidelines will remain in place for a minimum of two weeks, and then the league can reevaluate where it is in terms of cases.
The hope is that these new protocols will help curb the current spread of the virus around the league, and there won’t be a bigger disruption to the schedule aside from postponed games here and there. The NBA has already expressed that it has no intention of taking a significant pause in the season, and hope that this rough patch won’t extend much further as a vaccine becomes more widely available in the coming months.